By J.A. Johnson Jr., Staff Writer
Greenwich Time, May 13, 1998
In that book, "Murder of Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley?" the former cop who earned notoriety during the O.J. Simpson trial states he believes the girl's killer is Michael Skakel, who at the time lived next door to Moxley in the town's affluent Belle Haven section.
In an interview at Greenwich Time yesterday, Fuhrman said that after reviewing hundreds of pages of official reports and conducting nearly 100 interviews pertaining to the case, he believes his book provides a blueprint for a prosecution of Skakel. "It's all right there," Fuhrman said. "If you've got the guts, convene a grand jury. Do what the legal system allows."
State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict, who is handling the Moxley case, did not return calls to his office yesterday. But according to a source close to the investigation. Benedict is expected to announce within the near future that an investigative grand jury will be convened to decide whether the Moxley case should be prosecuted or dropped for lack of evidence.
Repeated calls to Michael Skakel's home in Cohasset, Mass., went unanswered yesterday. Thomas Sheridan Jr., a Manhattan lawyer who represented Skakel in the Moxley case, however, called Fuhrman's accusations "a dreadful mistake." The lawyer said, "(Fuhrman's) going to have to face up to his own responsibility for his conduct. This is such a tragic case for everyone involved that I hate to see people use it for commercial advantage."
According to Fuhrman, it was Sheridan who played a large part in leading him to pin Skakel as the person he believes murdered Moxley. He said Sheridan in 1992 - a year after a full reinvestigation of the unsolved murder was launched by then- State's Attorney Donald Browne - hired a private detective agency to clear Skakel and his older brother, Thomas Skakel, as suspects. Instead, Fuhrman claims, Long Island-based Sutton Associates obtained statements from both Skakel brothers indicating they had lied to police concerning their whereabouts when questioned in 1975.
Fuhrman said he was given a copy of the Sutton report by author Dominick Dunne, who wrote the 1993 best-selling novel inspired by the Moxley case "A Season in Purgatory," to whom the report was leaked by an agency employee.
According to Fuhrman, the Sutton report makes reference to 12 years Michael Skakel spent in various substance abuse rehabilitation centers in the aftermath of Moxley's murder. During one interview at one such center in Maine, Fuhrman writes, Michael "described a girl with a golf club embedded in her chest." Fuhrman said at the time the statement was made, the fact Moxley had been stabbed with a broken golf club shaft was known only by police and the murderer.
In addition, the former detective write, following a 1996 broadcast of "Unsolved Mysteries," a tipster called the true-crime TV show to say he had lived with Skakel at that same rehab while they were being treated for drug and alcohol abuse. "He further claimed that Michael had admitted to several people that he killed Martha Moxley with a golf club," and that Michael "made the confession in group therapy, saying he had killed her because he was drunk." Fuhrman theorizes that Skakel flew into a jealous rage the night of the murder after seeing brother Thomas kissing Moxley.
According to police, the murder weapon was a 6-iron from a set of golf clubs belonging to the Skakel brothers' late mother, Anne. Although the boys' father, Rushton, voluntarily surrendered a 7-iron from that same set, a formal search of the Skakels' Otter Rock Drive residence was never made. Fuhrman said the failure to obtain a search warrant was only one of several crucial mistakes made by Greenwich police because of their inexperience investigating a homicide. He said the Greenwich Police Department from nearly the beginning relinquished control of the investigation to prosecutor Browne's office.
Fuhrman also suggested authorities may have been intimidated by the wealthy Skakel family, whose social connections were furthered by the fact Rushton Skakel is brother of Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy. "Are there two systems of justice in this country - one for the rich and another for the rest of us?" he asked.
Browne, who retired in October, was retained as special prosecutor for the Moxley case by his successor, Benedict. Browne abruptly removed himself from the case last month, following publication of another book on the Moxley murder, "Greentown: Murder and Mystery in Greenwich, America's Wealthiest Community," which includes speculation by unnamed journalists that Browne had been bribed not to vigorously pursue Moxley's murderer.
In the interview, Fuhrman said Browne's withdrawal boded well for the Moxley case. "It can only be a positive," he said. "Don Browne had the case for 23 years and did nothing."